Aloe vera is a plant that is used in gel, cream, and pills. It has been used to help promote healing and ease swelling in skin problems, such as wounds and psoriasis.
There are no advised doses for aloe vera.
What Research Shows
May Be Effective
- Acne —may improve symptoms when used with standard treatmentA1
- Aphthous stomatitis —may ease symptoms (canker sores) and help with healingB1
- Burns/wounds —may ease burn and wound pain and help them heal fasterC1-C4
- Diabetes— may reduce symptoms, lower bad cholesterol, and raise good cholesterol in people with prediabetes and newly diagnosed diabetes who are not receiving standard care yetE1
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) —may reduce symptomsF1
- Oral lichen planus —may improve symptoms and improve quality of lifeG1-G6
- Pressure ulcers —may prevent skin sores in those that are on bedrest or sit in one position for long periods of time.H1
- Psoriasis —may reduce symptomsI1-I2
Unlikely to Be Effective
- Cancer treatment support —unlikely to improve skin reaction during breast cancer radiation therapyD1
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
It is likely safe to use aloe vera on the skin. It may be safe to take aloe orally for a short time, but abdominal cramps and diarrhea are possible. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period.
Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Aloe can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse such as:
- Aloe is a laxative. It will make food, fluids, or medicine move through your bowels faster. It may make any medicines you take less effective.
- People with diabetes should talk to their doctors before taking aloe. It may interact with their medicines.
A1. Hajheydari Z, Saeedi M, et al. Effect of aloe vera topical gel combined with tretinoin in treatment of mild and moderate acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind, prospective trial. J Dermatolog Treat. 2014 Apr;25(2):123-129.
B. Aphthous Stomatitis
B1. Mansour G, Ouda S, et al. Clinical efficacy of new aloe vera-and myrrh-based oral mucoadhesive gels in the management of minor recurrent aphthous stomatitis: a randomized, double-blind, vehicle-controlled study. J Oral Pathol Med. 2014 Jul;43(6):405-409.
C. Burn and Wound Healing
C1. Khorasani G, Hosseinimehr SJ, et al. Aloe versus silver sulfadiazine creams for second-degree burns: a randomized controlled study. Surg Today. 2009;39(7):587-591.
C2. Dat AD, Poon F, Pham KB, et al. Aloe vera for treating acute and chronic wounds. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Feb 15;2:CD008762.
C3. Shahzad MN, Ahmed N. Effectiveness of aloe vera gel compared with 1% silver sulphadiazine cream as burn wound dressing in second degree burns. J Pak Med Assoc. 2013 Feb;63(2):225-230.
C4. Molazem Z, Mohseni F, et al. Aloe vera gel and cesarean wound healing; a randomized controlled clinical trial. Glob J Health Sci. 2014 Aug 31;7(1):203-209.
D. Cancer Treatment Support
D1. Hoopfer D, Holloway C, et al. Three-arm phase III trial: quality aloe and placebo cream versus powder as skin treatment during breast cancer radiation therapy. Clin Breast Cancer. 2015 Jun;15(3):181-190.
E1. Zhang Y, Liu W, et al. Efficacy of Aloe Vera Supplementation on Prediabetes and Early Non-Treated Diabetic Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients. 2016 Jun 23;8(7).
F. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
F1. Panahi Y, Khedmat H, et al. Efficacy and safety of aloe vera syrup for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease: a pilot randomized positive-controlled trial. J Tradit Chin Med. 2015 Dec;35(6):632-636.
G. Oral Lichen Planus
G1. Salazar-Sánchez N, López-Jornet P, et al. Efficacy of topical Aloe vera in patients with oral lichen planus: a randomized double-blind study. J Oral Pathol Med. 2010 Nov;39(10):735-740.
G2. Thongprasom K, Carrozzo M, et al. Interventions for treating oral lichen planus. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Jul 6;(7).
G3. Mansourian A, Momen-Heravi F, et al. Comparison of aloe vera mouthwash with triamcinolone acetonide 0.1% on oral lichen planus: a randomized double-blinded clinical trial. Am J Med Sci. 2011 Dec;342(6):447-51.
G4. Cheng S, Kirtschig G, et al. Interventions for erosive lichen planus affecting mucosal sites. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Feb 15;(2).
G5. Reddy RL, Reddy RS, et al. Randomized trial of aloe vera gel vs. triamcinolone acetonide ointment in the treatment of oral lichen planus. Quintessence Int. 2012 Oct;43(9):793-800.
G6. Ali S, Wahbi W. The efficacy of aloe vera in management of oral lichen planus: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Oral Dis. 2017 Oct;23(7):913-918.
H. Pressure Ulcers
H1. Hekmatpou D, Mehrabi F, et al. The effect of Aloe Vera gel on prevention of pressure ulcers in patients hospitalized in the orthopedic wards: a randomized triple-blind clinical trial. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2018 Sep 29;18(1):264.
I1. Choonhakarn C, Busaracome P, et al. A prospective, randomized clinical trial comparing topical aloe vera with 0.1% triamcinolone acetonide in mild to moderate plaque psoriasis. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2010;24(2):168-172.
I2. Farahnik B, Sharma D, et al. Topical Botanical Agents for the Treatment of Psoriasis: A Systematic Review. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2017 Aug;18(4):451-468.
Last reviewed March 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC Last Updated: 3/2/2019